Technology addiction – how should it be treated?

Devices make it easier to stay in touch and connected to the world around us.

When speaking about addiction, while not widely thought of, technology is something that many people fail to survive without. Many individuals develop a serious addiction to an increased prevalence of electronics and technologies. Fortunately, those addicted to technology have recovery options.

Today, as technological addiction clinics are popping up across multiple nations to try to keep people off their smartphones and laptops, some are looking at some of the arguments around this most common addiction.

India became the latest country earlier this month to sign up to what some concerned nations portray as a war against an epidemic that has its youth in its grip. The country’s premier mental health hospital has launched its first “technology de-addiction clinic” in Bangalore, India’s “silicon capital”.

In doing so, in using designated technology addiction centres, India has joined South Korea, China, Taiwan and Singapore in tackling what many Asian-Pacific communities perceive to be a rising public health issue.

This picture is becoming a sign of the times. But, is addiction to technology becoming a genuine problem?
Photo by Garrett Morrow on Pexels.com

statistics report that, In 2019, the number of smartphones sold to consumers stood at around 1.52 billion units, a significant increase from the 680 million units sold in 2012. Showing an upward digital trend that doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.

These numbers are relevant because people worldwide are spending more and more time on these types of devices. Medical Daily reported on one study that found “the average college student sends and receives approximately 109.5 text messages a day and checks their phone 60 times per day.”

Doctors at the Bangalore clinic, run by the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (Nimhans), told The Indian Express that children whose parents are worried with either a sharp academic downturn or their child withdrawing from family connections are usually the patients being referred.

“Dr. Manoj Kumar Sharma, one of the doctors running the Nimhans clinic, told the paper, “Parents regret that their son or daughter spends way too much time on the smartphone, or sharing frequent images on Facebook, or complaining of fear, loneliness and boredom when refused use of the computer.

The symptoms and nature of this suspected addiction differ from case to case, but depend on a perceived excessive involvement that comes at the cost of their emotional well-being with a user’s smartphone, the Internet or social networking sites. In addiction situations, constant tracking of instant messaging software and regular modification of status messages as well as the infamous posting of “selfies” are related to insomnia, depression and social withdrawal.

The act of admitting a child to a clinic for spending so much time on Facebook or playing with their mobile may seem extreme, since these kinds of treatment centres have yet to hit many Western countries.

In India, however, the opening of the clinic seemed timely, with Indian newspapers covering a case of a 13-year-old who hanged herself after her mother asked her to delete her Facebook account the same week the Nimhans centre opened.

Schools concerned with the popularity of tweeting, selfies and online multiplayer gaming have also been requesting assistance from the facility. Some have requested Nimhans workers to train their student counsellors, or to hold awareness camps for addicted students and screening and recovery services.

A year-long report released in 2013 by the Indian Council for Medical Research corroborates parental and educational issues, suggesting there was an “alarming” rate of technology reliance among its 2,750 participants.

What are the types of technology addiction?

Like gambling, technology uses the variable ratio reinforcement schedule to create a rewarding experience. The schedule is unpredictable and varied, but it also has content that’s mood-enhancing or stimulating.

Examples of these experiences include:

  • video games
  • pornography
  • social media
  • online gambling
  • texting
  • online auctions

These addictions can range from moderate to severe. One study found that people who used Facebook showed no negative effects on their brain. But they also recognized Facebook-related images faster than road signs.

While this may not be an addiction, it can still affect your day-to-day tasks. People may react faster to a Facebook message than traffic conditions if they’re on their phone while driving.

What are the symptoms of technology addiction?

It may be difficult to recognize the signs of an IAD given how big a role technology plays in our daily lives. Someone with an IAD will display distinct habits. According to the journal Current Psychiatry ReviewsTrusted Source, someone with an IAD will:

  • have mood changes
  • focus on the internet and digital media
  • be unable to control how much time they spend
  • need more time or a new game to be happy
  • show withdrawal symptoms when not using the internet or technology
  • continue using the internet or technology even when it affects their relationships
  • neglect their social, work, or school life

Having an IAD can also lead to other problems, such as depression, stress, and sleep disorders. Some mental healthcare providers see IAD as a symptom of another disorder.

Other signs that someone may have an IAD include:

  • describing their activity as normal, or even healthy
  • compulsively checking text messages or notifications
  • losing interest in things that don’t involve the internet or technology
  • getting less sleep due to the activity
  • displaying irritability, depression, or lethargy
  • going out of their way to prevent interrupted play, such as wearing an adult diaper

Talk to your doctor about all your habits if you suspect your symptoms are a result of IAD. They’ll be able to help determine the cause and provide the right treatment.

How is a technology addiction diagnosed?

There are several assessment tools a person can take to see if they’re at risk for an IAD. These tests will ask you to rate your behaviors on a scale to measure your level of internet addiction. One example is Dr. Kimberly Young’s Internet Addiction Test. It consists of 20 questions. The results range from 20–100 points. The higher you score on the test, the greater your level of addiction.

While diagnosing if you have an IAD, your doctor or mental health care provider may ask:

  • Do you think about your previous activity or expect the next session a lot?
  • Do you need to use more of the internet or play games for longer to achieve satisfaction?
  • Have you tried to control, cut back, or stop use without success?
  • Have you stayed online longer than intended?

Also, one of the following situations must be present to make a diagnosis:

  • You lost a job, relationship, or significant opportunity due to use.
  • You lied to a family member, therapist, or others about use.
  • You use the internet or games as an escape from problems or moods.

Your doctor may also ask about other symptoms or moods to see which “came first.” This is to make sure that an IAD isn’t a symptom of another disorder. They may also about your family’s mental health history to rule out other causes. In some children and teenagers, what appears as IAD may just be a phase.

How is technology addiction treated?

Unlike other addiction treatments, researchers agree that completely avoiding the internet isn’t effective. Instead, IAD treatment should focus on time management and balancing or controlling use. However, it may help to avoid certain applications if they’re the cause of your addiction.

Treatment strategies generally include:

  • suggesting a new schedule to disrupt patterns
  • using real events and activities to help you log off
  • setting goals to help limit use time
  • quitting use of specific applications
  • reminding yourself the benefits of stopping
  • creating an inventory of missed activities due to an IAD
  • joining a support group
  • engaging in family therapy

Treating an IAD can also be a combination of therapies. Talk to a mental health care provider about your options, if you suspect you or someone you know has an IAD. They’ll be able to suggest a treatment plan to help.

What is the outlook for someone with a technology addiction?

Someone with an IAD can experience more episodes of depression and anxiety if left untreated. Significant physical effects will occur as well. For instance, to save time, anyone with an IAD may start consuming instant foods or they may miss everyday grooming. This can contribute to broader health issues, such as obesity, over time. Lack of sleep will also lead to these symptoms and raise the risk of other conditions.

Are there resources for someone with technology addiction?

Via communities like Online Gamers Anonymous (OGA), several individuals with an IAD may find help (OGA). These 12-step services are voluntary and include a network of other persons who go on the same journey. These organisations may provide long-term care, unlike inpatient therapy.

Groups that offer information and resources for help include:

The 8 best core exercises, from beginner to advanced, for home and gym fitness

The “core” refers to the main muscles in the trunk of the body. They help protect the spine, provide stability, and increase strength.

The best core exercises can increase physical performance, help avoid injury, and improve posture by improving the core muscles.

If a person incorporates a focus on these muscles with a balanced diet and lifestyle that involves other types of exercise, maintaining a solid, well-trained core will also help build an athletic-looking physique.

For beginners and those with more experience, this article looks at the benefits of core preparation and the most successful workouts.

Which muscles make up the core?

Photo by Lena Shekhovtsova on Pexels.com

The core muscles, found in the trunk of the body, are:

Rectus abdominis:  Which makes the body lean over, also known as the’ six pack.’
Internal and external obliques: These muscles help the trunk twist and bend to the sides, positioned at the sides of the heart.
Transversus abdominis: During movement, this helps support the pelvis.
Lumbar multifidus: This muscle in the back serves to protect the spine during motion.
Erector spinae:  This muscle and tendon group acts after bending to straighten the trunk and stabilise the body during raising.

Benefits of core training

According to Harvard Medical School, strengthening the core muscles can help:

  • improve balance, stability, and flexibility
  • prevent falls and injuries
  • reduce back pain
  • improve posture

Exercises that strengthen the core

Having a routine that includes some of the following exercises may help strengthen and stabilise the core and improve mobility.

Before going on to others that increase agility, such as mountain climbers, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) advises beginning with workouts to help develop core flexibility.

Below, beginning with those for beginners, we list ACE-approved core exercises. We also give tips to make these activities more complicated.

1. The bridge

This also helps strengthen muscles in the lower back, hips, and buttocks. The muscles of the buttocks are called the gluteal muscles, or “glutes.”

To perform the bridge:

  • Lie on a mat, with the knees bent and the feet hip-width apart, firmly planted on the floor. The hands should be palm-down at the sides.
  • Squeeze the glutes and lift the hips until there is a straight diagonal line from the knees to the shoulders.
  • Hold this position for 20–30 seconds before slowly lowering the body to the floor. Do this one vertebra at a time, starting at the shoulders and ending at the pelvis.

Intermediate: While lifting the hips, raise the right foot off the floor until the knee is at a 90-degree angle from the hip. Alternate legs for 20 repetitions.

Advanced: Use a resistance band around the hips, securing the band to the floor with your hands. This will make the muscles work harder.

2. Toe taps

These help engage the core muscles while strengthening the glutes, hips, and legs.

To perform toe taps:

  • Lie on the floor, with the feet raised and the knees bent at 90 degrees. Place the hands at the sides of the body with the palms facing down.
  • Lower each foot in turn, lightly tapping the floor, before raising it to the starting position.
  • While doing this, it may help imagine a thread pulling the belly button down into the floor. The aim is to keep the spine stable and prevent the lower back from arching.
  • Perform 2 sets of 8 or 3 sets of 12, depending on the level of fitness.

3. The high plank

This strengthens the abdominal muscles, shoulders, back, glutes, and legs.

To perform the high plank:

  • Start off on all fours, with the hands shoulder-width apart and the feet hip-width apart.
  • Extend the legs behind the body, until the body’s weight rests on the hands and the balls of the feet.
  • Pull in the belly button to keep the core muscles active.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds while breathing deeply and looking directly at the floor, then return to the starting position.
  • Perform 8 repetitions per set for 2 sets.

Intermediate (elbow plank): Instead of resting the weight on the hands, lower the forearms to the floor so that the arms form a right angle to the floor. Move the feet closer to the body. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 sets of 12.

Advanced (side plank): Lie on one side, with the elbow directly beneath the shoulder and the forearm flat against the floor. The legs should be slightly bent.

Using the oblique muscles, lift the hips to form a straight line, with one leg balanced atop the other. Raise the free arm straight up in the air, holding the position for as long as possible without losing balance — at least 30 seconds. Repeat 3 sets of 12.

4. Bird dog

This exercise strengthens the abdominal and back muscles by challenging stability.

To perform the bird dog:

  • Begin on all fours, with the hands shoulder-width apart and the knees hip-width apart.
  • Tighten the core and extend the right leg behind the body until it is level with the hip.
  • Extend the left arm forward until it is level with the shoulder, keeping the thumb facing upward.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds.
  • Perform 2 sets of 8 repetitions, alternating with the left leg and right arm.

Intermediate: Once in position, with the right leg and left arm extended, draw these limbs in beneath the abdomen until they are as close to each other as possible. Then extend them to the starting position. Hold this for 30 seconds. Perform 12 repetitions per set for up to 3 sets.

Advanced: Use a resistance band around the feet to work the glutes harder.

5. Abdominal crunches

These help strengthen the core, lower back muscles, and obliques.

To perform abdominal crunches:

  • Lie face-up on a mat, and bend the knees until the feet are roughly 12–18 inches from the tailbone.
  • Place the hands behind the head, and exhale while slowly curling the torso toward the thighs. Continue until the upper back lifts from the floor.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Lower the torso slowly to the floor.
  • Beginners should aim for 2 sets of 8 repetitions. Others should aim for 3 sets of 12.

Intermediate: Begin in the same position, but instead of keeping the feet flat on the floor, raise them toward the chest while curling the torso toward the thighs.

Advanced: Hold a weighted medicine ball to the chest while curling the torso upward. Swivel left and right, bringing the ball across the body, before returning to the starting position.

6. Bicycle crunches

This is one of the most effective intermediate exercises for strengthening the rectus abdominis, also known as the six-pack.

To perform bicycle crunches:

  • Lie on a mat with the knees bent and the hands behind the head.
  • Lift both feet.
  • Bring the right knee toward the chest while straightening the left leg.
  • At the same time, lift the shoulders and upper back, bringing the left elbow toward the right knee. Try to touch the elbow to the knee and hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat, this time bringing the right elbow toward the left knee.
  • Repeat as often as the fitness level allows.

7. Warrior crunches

These work the abdominal muscles, glutes, thighs, and quads.

To perform warrior crunches:

  • Stand with the feet slightly farther than hip-width apart and the toes pointed outward.
  • Place the hands behind the head and squat as far as is comfortable.
  • Bend the upper body to one side, and return to the center.
  • Repeat on the opposite side. Try not to lean forward or backward while bending. It may help to imagine the body between two panes of glass.
  • Aim for 2 sets of 8 repetitions or 3 sets of 12 repetitions, depending on fitness levels.

8. Mountain climbers

This exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles as well as the shoulders, hips, hamstrings, and triceps.

To perform mountain climbers:

  • Start in a high plank position.
  • Keeping the abdominal muscles tight, bring the right knee to the chest.
  • Return the right leg to the starting position. Bring the left knee to the chest.
  • Start slowly, working up to a faster rhythm. The aim is to alternate legs in one fluid movement.
  • Begin with 2 sets of 8, working up to 3 sets of 12.

Summary

The core muscles help protect the spine, stabilise the body, improve posture and balance, and increase strength.

Working these muscles through resistance-based exercise can also help improve mobility.

What are the benefits of chamomile tea?

Chamomile tea has long been used for a wide variety of health conditions as a traditional folk remedy. Researchers are also continually investigating its usefulness in the treatment of disorders, including cancer and diabetes.

Research into the strength of camomile tea has so far shown promise. Research differ, however, with some studies suggesting strong improvements relative to conventional treatments, and others only referring to potential ones.

Chamomile tea is safe for most persons to try as an alternative to other medications, but when people have severe diseases, it does not substitute conventional medicinal treatments.

Fast facts about chamomile tea:

  • Dried chamomile flowers are used to make chamomile tea.
  • Researchers are interested in the benefits of consuming chamomile tea.
  • Similarly to any other herbal remedy, it is not safe for everyone.
  • The more potent the tea, the more likely it is to offer health benefits.

What is chamomile tea?

chamomile tea

The strength of different camomile teas varies, with some having far more camomile than others. In individuals who are sensitive to them, the more powerful teas are often more likely to cause side effects. Consequently, starting with a low dosage is safer and steadily moving up to larger doses.

Benefits of chamomile tea

The potential benefits of chamomile tea, for which there is the most evidence, include:

1. Reducing menstrual pain

Several studies have linked camomile tea with decreased menstrual cramp incidence. For instance, a 2010 study showed that drinking camomile tea for a month could minimise menstrual cramp pain. Less discomfort and depression associated with menstrual pain was also identified by women in the study.

2. Treating diabetes and lowering blood sugar

Again, several studies have shown that in individuals with diabetes, camomile tea can reduce blood sugar. Research may not prove that camomile is a suitable alternative for prescription drugs for diabetes, but it can be a beneficial complement to current medications.

Similarly, a study of rats in 2008 showed that consistent intake of camomile tea could prevent a rise in blood sugar. This influence decreases the long-term risk of complications of diabetes, indicating that camomile may boost the outcome of diabetes.

3. Slowing or preventing osteoporosis

The side effects of bone mass is osteoporosis. The risk of broken bones and stooped posture is raised by this failure. Although osteoporosis can be acquired by anyone, it is most prevalent in post-menopausal women. The results of oestrogen may be due to this tendency.

A research published in 2004 showed that camomile tea may have anti-estrogenic effects. It has also tended to improve bone density, although the authors of the study warn that more research is required to prove this clear advantage.

4. Reducing inflammation

Inflammation is the response of the immune system to prevent infection. There are chemical compounds in Chamomile tea that may decrease inflammation. However, a wide variety of health conditions, including haemorrhoids, gastrointestinal pain, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and even depression, are associated with long-term inflammation.

5. Cancer treatment and prevention

Some studies indicate that camomile tea can target cancer cells or, in the first place, even prevent the production of these cells. So far, however, evidence is inconclusive, and researchers believe further testing is needed to prove the anti-cancer claims of camomile. Often, in animals, much research has looked at clinical models, not humans.

The cancer-fighting properties of marigold and camomile teas were contrasted in a 2012 study. They were both able to selectively treat cancer tumours, but the effects of marigold tea were more potent.

6. Helping with sleep and relaxation

It is commonly believed that camomile tea makes people calm and fall asleep. However, few clinical trials have tested this.

10 out of 12 cardiovascular patients are cited as having fallen asleep immediately after drinking camomile tea in one study of the latest facts. A few other studies that look at clinical models also show that camomile tea can help individuals relax.

The camomile extract helped sleep-disturbed rodents fall asleep in a study using rats. Many researchers assume that a benzodiazepine may act like camomile tea. Benzodiazepines are pharmaceutical medications that can alleviate anxiety and sleep induction. Any evidence indicates that camomile binds to receptors for benzodiazepines.

7. Treating cold symptoms

Anecdotal data and some research indicate that some of the signs of common cold may be cured by inhaling steam with camomile extract. But this advantage is not yet proven.

8. Treatment for mild skin conditions

A small 1987 study showed that healing was aided by the application of camomile extract directly to a wound. Similarly, several studies have shown that camomile ointments, while not as effective as hydrocortisone cream, can help with eczema and mild inflammatory skin conditions.

Who should avoid chamomile tea?

The following groups should avoid chamomile unless advised otherwise by a doctor:

  • People with a history of severe allergies, particularly to pollens: Chamomile may be contaminated with pollen from other plants so can cause an allergic reaction.
  • People who have previously had an allergic reaction, even mild, to chamomile products: They should avoid chamomile, as allergic reactions can get worse with time.
  • Infants and very young children: Chamomile tea, similarly to honey and some other natural products, may be contaminated with botulism spores. Most healthy adults can fight off the infection, but infants may not be able to. Many doctors recommend infants and young children avoid honey, and they should also avoid chamomile products.

It is also not safe to use chamomile as a substitute for proven medical treatments. If someone is taking any medications, they should ask their doctor about potential interactions with chamomile tea.

11 Herbs and spices to keep handy for your next self-care day.

There’s a myth going around that using ingredients from our favourite brands and retailers is the best way to attain perfect hair and skin. That theory isn’t real, though. In fact, in the popular herbs and spices found in your garden or kitchen, measures towards healthy skin and hair can be found.

You can quickly transform them into DIY face masks or hair conditioners, whether it’s using these natural tools directly on your skin (such as aloe vera or mint leaves, for example) or using the extracts and oils of these ingredients.

Ahead check out a few herbs, herbs and spices to keep handy for your next self-care day. 

These are top 11 herbs and spices that has great benefits for all skin types.

01. Chamomile

Chamomile is perfect to fade dark spots on the face and give your skin a radiant and youthful glow.

02 Cinnamon

Aside from having a nice scent, cinnamon can help clear up zits. It helps prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria so it’s perfect to add to a face or body mask.

03 Thyme

A perfect ingredient for hair products, thyme is known for its ability to improve blood flow to the scalp and to help stimulate growth.

04 Turmeric

Known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, turmeric is great for healing and calming your skin. It also helps the growth of your hair.

05 Calendula

Calendula repairs dry skin, reduces acne scars or wounds, and cures fungal infections that may cause acne or blackheads.

06 Rose Petals

Rose-infused products are popular for skin care, as the ingredient locks in moisture, on top of that provides a sweet scent. It also soothes irritated skin, so it’s a great refreshing spray.

07 Basil

Basil is a magic ingredient for both skin and hair as it is full of antioxidants and nutrients. With skin, it aids in clearing up acne, blackheads and pimples. In hair products, it helps to get rid of dandruff and promotes hair growth.

08 Witch Hazel

Serving as a natural astringent, witch hazel is a centuries-old cure-all for problematic skin: its helps fade scars, speeds up the healing of scabs and reduces redness.

09 Mint

A treasure trove of benefits can be found in mint, including cleansing and tightening skin, reducing puffiness around eyes and  oil reduction on the skin. It’s also popular in foot care products, as it aids severely cracked heels.

10 Lavender

Lavender is a multi-use tool that can fix a number of skin concerns, including acne and eczema; use it as a facial toner. In addition to soothing skin, lavender heals inflammation and burning associated with insect bites and mild burns.

11 Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, known for its anti-inflammatory effects, is good for staying cool, hydrated and plump skin. As it contains enzymes that fix dead skin cells in the scalp, you can also use it on hair, eventually leading to healthier hair growth.

12 Healthy Herbal Teas You Should Try

For decades, herbal teas have been around.

Herbal teas are made from dried fruits, flowers, spices or herbs.

This means that herbal teas can come in a wide variety of flavours and tastes and offer an enticing alternative to sugar or water drinks.

In addition to being delicious, some herbal teas have properties that promote wellbeing. In reality, for hundreds of years, herbal teas have been used as natural remedies for a range of ailments.

Interestingly, modern science has started to find evidence supporting some, as well as some new, of the traditional uses of herbal teas.

In herbal teas, it has antioxidants and vitamins that are great for helping combat disease and infection, protecting against oxidative stress, and reducing the risk of chronic disease.

Here is a list of 10 healthy herbal teas you’ll want to try.

1. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Flower

Chamomile tea is most commonly known for its calming effects and is frequently used as a sleep aid.

Two studies have examined the effects of chamomile tea or extract on sleep problems in humans.

Drinking camomile tea for two weeks led to better sleep quality and less signs of depression in one study of 80 postpartum women experiencing sleep problems.

Another study of 34 patients with insomnia showed minor changes in waking up at night, falling asleep and working during the day after taking camomile extract twice a day.

What’s more, chamomile may not just be useful as a sleep aid. It is also believed to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and liver-protecting effects

Some studies have found preliminary evidence that chamomile may help fight diarrhea and stomach ulcers.

One study also found that chamomile tea reduced symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, while another study in people with type 2 diabetes saw improvements in blood glucose, insulin and blood lipid levels

While more research is needed to confirm these effects, preliminary evidence suggests that chamomile tea may offer a range of health benefits.

SUMMARY: Chamomile is well known for its calming properties, and preliminary evidence supports this. It may also help relieve premenstrual symptoms and high blood lipid, blood sugar and insulin levels.

2. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is one of the most commonly used herbal teas in the world

While it’s most popularly used to support digestive tract health, it also has antioxidant, anticancer, antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Several studies have shown that preparations of peppermint oil, which often included other herbs as well, can help relieve indigestion, nausea and stomach pain.

Evidence also shows that peppermint oil is effective at relaxing spasms in the intestines, esophagus and colon.

Lastly, studies have repeatedly found that peppermint oil is effective at relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Therefore, when you experience digestive discomfort, whether it be from cramping, nausea or indigestion, peppermint tea is a great natural remedy to try.

SUMMARY: Peppermint tea is traditionally used to relieve the discomfort of the digestive tract. Studies have found that peppermint oil can help relieve nausea, cramping, spasms and stomach pain.

3. Ginger Tea

Fall immune booster – ginger with honey, lemon and turmeric

Ginger tea is a spicy and flavorful drink that packs a punch of healthy, disease-fighting antioxidants.

It also helps fight inflammation and stimulates the immune system, but it’s most well known for being an effective remedy for nausea

Studies have consistently found that ginger is effective in relieving nausea, especially in early pregnancy, although nausea caused by cancer treatments and motion sickness can also be alleviated.

Evidence also suggests that ginger may help prevent stomach ulcers and relieve indigestion or constipation

Dysmenorrhea, or period pain, can also be relieved by ginger. A variety of studies have found that ginger capsules have decreased menstrual pain.

Two studies have actually found ginger to be as effective in relieving period pain as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.

Finally, some studies indicate that for individuals with diabetes, ginger may provide health benefits, although the evidence has not been consistent. Such studies have shown that ginger supplements have helped regulate blood sugar and blood lipid levels.

SUMMARY: Ginger tea is best known as a remedy for nausea, and studies have repeatedly found it to be effective for this use. However, several studies have also found that ginger can help relieve period pain, and it may offer benefits for people with diabetes.

4. Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea is made from the colorful flowers of the hibiscus plant. It has a pink-red color and refreshing, tart flavor. It can be enjoyed hot or iced.

Hibiscus tea provides healthy properties, in addition to its bold colour and distinctive taste.

Hibiscus tea, for example, has antiviral properties, and test-tube tests have shown that its extract is highly effective against bird flu strains. No research, however, has shown that drinking hibiscus tea can help protect against viruses such as flu.

The effects of hibiscus tea on high blood lipid levels have been studied in a variety of studies. A few studies have found it to be successful, although it did not have a major impact on blood lipid levels in a broad review study.

Nevertheless, it has been shown that hibiscus tea has a beneficial effect on high blood pressure.

What’s more, another study found that taking hibiscus tea extract for six weeks significantly decreased oxidative stress in male soccer players.

Be sure to avoid drinking hibiscus tea if you’re taking hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic medication, as the two may interact with each other. Hibiscus tea may also shorten the effects of aspirin, so it’s best to take them 3–4 hours apart.

SUMMARY: Hibiscus tea may help lower high blood pressure and fight oxidative stress. However, it shouldn’t be taken with a certain diuretic medication or at the same time as aspirin.

5. Echinacea Tea

Echinacea Tea

Echinacea tea, said to avoid and mitigate the common cold, is an immensely popular treatment.

Evidence has shown that echinacea can help strengthen the immune system, which can help the body fight diseases or viruses.

Many studies have found that echinacea can shorten the duration of the common cold, reduce or even prevent the severity of its symptoms.

The findings are inconsistent, however, and most experiments have not been well planned. This makes it impossible to tell whether echinacea or random chance is leading to positive outcomes.

It is also not definitively possible to claim that taking echinacea can help with the common cold.

At the very least, this warm herbal drink may help soothe your sore throat or clear up your stuffy nose if you do feel a cold coming on

SUMMARY: Echinacea tea is commonly used to prevent or shorten the duration of the common cold. While several studies have found it to be effective for this use, the evidence on the matter is conflicting.

6. Rooibos Tea

Cup of healthy traditional herbal rooibos red beverage tea with spices

Rooibos is a herbal tea found in South Africa. It is found in the leaves of the red bush plant or rooibos.

Historically, South Africans have used it for medicinal purposes, but there is very little scientific analysis on the subject.

However, a few animals and human experiments have been carried out. To date, study has failed to indicate that it is beneficial for asthma and kidney stones.

One research, however, has shown that bone health can benefit from rooibos tea. One analysis of the test tube indicates that rooibos tea can stimulate the cells involved in bone growth and density along with green and black tea.

The same study showed that the teas reduced inflammation and cell toxicity markers as well. The researchers proposed that this could be why higher bone density is correlated with drinking tea.

In addition, preliminary evidence suggests that tea from rooibos can help prevent heart disease.

One research showed that rooibos tea, similar to how a traditional blood pressure drug does, inhibited an enzyme that allows blood vessels to constrict

Another research has showed that drinking six cups of rooibos tea everyday decreased blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and fat for six weeks, while raising “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

Much further research is needed to validate these results and to explore some further advantages.

SUMMARY: Rooibos tea has just recently begun to be studied by scientists. Preliminary evidence suggests that rooibos tea may help improve bone health and reduce heart disease risk, but more studies are needed.

7. Sage Tea

Sage Tea

Sage tea is well known for its medicinal properties, and scientific research has begun to support several of its health benefits, especially for brain health.

A number of test-tube, animal and human studies have shown that sage is beneficial for cognitive function, as well as potentially effective against the effects of the plaques involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, two studies on oral sage drops or sage oil found improvements in the cognitive function of those with Alzheimer’s disease, although the studies had limitations

In addition, salvia also tends to have neurological advantages for stable adults.

In stable people, a variety of studies have found changes in mood, brain function and memory after consuming one of the different forms of sage extract.

In addition, one small human study found that sage tea improved the amount of blood lipids, while another study in rats found that sage tea protected against colon cancer growth.

Sage tea seems to be a safe alternative, providing advantages for cognitive wellbeing and likely for the health of the heart and colon. To find out more about these results, more research is needed.

SUMMARY: Several studies have found that sage improves cognitive function and memory. It may also benefit colon and heart health.

8. Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon Balm Tea

Furthermore, for healthy adults, salvia often appears to have psychological effects.

A number of studies have found improvements in mood, brain activity and memory in healthy adults after eating one of the multiple types of sage extract.

Furthermore, one small human study found that the amount of blood lipids in sage tea increased, while another study in rats found that sage tea protected against colon cancer development.

Sage tea tends to be a natural option, offering neurological well-being benefits and possibly for the health of the heart and colon. More experiments are done to find out more about these outcomes.

Those who drank lemon balm tea also had increased elasticity of the skin in the same report, which usually appears to decrease with age. The analysis was of low quality, however.

Another small study in radiology staff showed that drinking lemon balm tea for one month twice a day increased the natural antioxidant enzymes of the body that help protect the body from oxidative cell loss and DNA damage.

Participants also demonstrated enhanced lipid and DNA damage markers as a result.

Preliminary research has also shown that elevated blood lipid levels can be increased by lemon balm

In addition, a variety of experiments have found that mood and mental performance are boosted by lemon balm.

Two studies including 20 participants evaluated the effects of different dosages of lemon balm extract. They found improvements in both calmness and memory

Another small study found that lemon balm extract helped reduce stress and improve math processing skills

Finally, another small study found that lemon balm tea reduced the frequency of heart palpitations and anxiety

Lemon balm tea may offer a number of potential health benefits and would make a good addition to any herbal tea collection.

SUMMARY: Preliminary studies have found that lemon balm tea may improve antioxidant levels, heart and skin health and even aid in relieving anxiety.

9. Rose Hip Tea

Rose Hip Tea

Rose hip tea is made from the fruit of the rose plant.

It is high in vitamin C and beneficial plant compounds. These plant compounds, in addition to certain fats found in rose hips, result in anti-inflammatory properties

Several studies have looked into the ability of rose hip powder to reduce inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Many of these studies found it effective at reducing inflammation and its related symptoms, including pain

Rose hips may also be beneficial for weight management, as one 12-week study in 32 overweight people found that taking rosehip extract resulted in decreased BMI and belly fat

Rose hip’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may also help fight skin aging.

One preliminary study found that taking rosehip powder for eight weeks reduced the depth of wrinkles around the eyes and improved moisture and skin elasticity of the face

These properties may result in other health benefits as well, though more studies will be needed to confirm these effects and investigate any new ones.

SUMMARY: Rosehip tea is high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Its anti-inflammatory properties may reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Studies have also found rose hips effective at fighting aging of the skin and reducing stomach fat.

10. Passionflower Tea

Passionflower Tea

The leaves, stems and flowers of the passionflower plant are used to make passionflower tea.

Traditionally, passionflower tea is used to relieve anxiety and boost sleep, and experiments have begun to encourage these applications.

For example, one study found that drinking passionflower tea for one week, it will significantly improved sleep quality.

What’s more, two human studies found that passionflower was effective at reducing anxiety. In fact, one of these studies found that passionflower was as effective as an anxiety-relieving medication.

However, another research showed that passionflower helped to reduce the psychiatric effects of opioid withdrawal, such as fear, irritability and frustration, when the medicine normally used for opioid detoxification therapy was taken in addition to clonidine.

Passionflower tea seems to be a good choice when it comes to relieving anxiety and promoting calmness.

SUMMARY: Studies have found that passionflower tea may help improve sleep and reduce anxiety.

11. Lavender Tea

Lavender tea

Lavender tea and extracts can enhance sleeping, enhance skin health, improve mood and reduce anxiety.

Lavender is one of the world’s most beloved fragrances. This bright purple flower makes a point, from lavender essential oil to lavender soaps and teas. It’s known for its relaxing effects, making it the best tea for bedtime.

Lavender tea contains a delicate scent and herbal taste that has extensive health benefits. Discover the appeal of this flowering herb and find out how it will enhance your wellbeing by drinking a cuppa of lavender.

The most well known health benefit of lavender tea is its ability to induce calm.

Lavender tea boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation and prevent a host of serious ailments.

Lavender tea contains high amounts of antioxidants and antibacterial compounds that can help fend off the common cold and flu.

When you drink lavender tea, antioxidants work to eliminate toxins that can cause harmful side effects.

SUMMARY: When you drink lavender tea, antioxidants work to eliminate toxins that can cause harmful side effects, improves sleep, boost the immune system.

The Bottom Line

Herbal teas come in a variety of delicious flavours and are naturally free of sugar and calories.

Many herbal teas also offer health-promoting effects, and modern science has begun to validate some of their traditional uses.

Whether you’re a tea lover or novice, don’t be afraid to give these 10 herbal teas a try. Worth the taste.

Is 5G technology bad for our health?

In this spotlight, we look at the impact on our bodies of electromagnetic fields and discuss why some claim that 5G technology might not be effective.

Many government agencies and organisations warn that there is no need to be alarmed about the impact of radiofrequency waves on our wellbeing, as 5G wireless technology is steadily finding its way around the world. But some experts disagree strongly.

Why do some people believe that 5G technology may harm our health?

The word 5G refers to the fifth mobile technology generation. 5G will seem like a natural progression for our increasingly tech-reliant society with promises of faster browsing, streaming, and download rates, as well as improved connectivity.

Yet 5G has been planned to improve performance and reduce latency, which is the time it takes for devices to connect with each other, beyond enabling us to watch the latest movies.

These changes will play a major role in how rapidly we incorporate technology into our daily lives for integrated applications, such as robots, self-driving vehicles, and medical devices.

The usage of higher-frequency bandwidths, through the radio frequency spectrum, would be the strong component of 5G technology.

But what does 5G have to do with our health?

We look at what electromagnetic radiation is in this spotlight, how it can influence our wellbeing, the debate around radio frequency networks, and what this means for the advent of 5G technology.

What is electromagnetic radiation?

An electromagnetic field (EMF) is a field of energy that results from electromagnetic radiation, a form of energy that occurs as a result of the flow of electricity.

Electric fields occur wherever power lines or outlets are located, whether or not the electricity is turned on. Only when electric currents flow are magnetic fields formed. These together, generate EMFs.

Electromagnetic radiation exists as a spectrum of different wavelengths and frequencies, which are measured in hertz (Hz). This term denotes the number of cycles per second.

Between 50 and 60 Hz, which is at the lower end of the spectrum, power lines work. Along with radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, and some of the ultraviolet spectrum that brings us into the megahertz (MHz), GHz, and terahertz spectra, these low-frequency waves make up what is referred to as nonionizing radiation.

Above this lie the petahertz and exahertz spectra, which include X-rays and gamma rays. These are types of ionizing radiation, which mean that they carry sufficient energy to break apart molecules and cause significant damage to the human body.

Radiofrequency EMFs (RF-EMFs) include all wavelengths from 30 kilohertz to 300 GHz.

Exposure to RF-EMFs is mainly from mobile devices such as cell phones and laptops, as well as from base stations for cell phones, medical applications and TV antennas for the general public.

Heating is the most well-established biologic impact of RF-EMFs. High doses of RF-EMFs can lead to an increase in exposed tissue temperature, resulting in burns and other damage.

But mobile devices emit RF-EMFs at low levels. Whether this is a cause for concern is a matter of ongoing debate, reignited by the arrival of 5G.

Moving from 4G to 5G

Will 5G expose us to more radiation?

The arrival of the 5G network promises to improve connectivity. What that means, in reality, is wider coverage and more bandwidth to allow our multitude of data to travel from A to B.

To build out networks at the higher end of the RF-EMF spectrum, new base stations, or small cells, will appear around the globe.

The reason behind this is that high-frequency radio waves have a shorter range than lower-frequency waves. Small cells that will allow data to travel relatively short distances will form a key part of the 5G network, particularly in areas of dense network usage.

But while our lives may be transformed by faster browsing, integrated e-health applications, driverless cars, and real-life connectivity across the “internet of things,” will this make a significant impact on the amounts of RF-EMFs that we are exposed to?

The short answer is, no one really knows, yet. Writing in Frontiers in Public Health earlier this month, a group of international scientists, including Dr. Hardell, comment on the potential risks of 5G technology.

“Higher frequency (shorter wavelength) radiation associated with 5G does not penetrate the body as deeply as frequencies from older technologies, although its effects may be systemic,” they explain.

The range and magnitude of potential impacts of 5G technologies remain under-researched while millimeter-wavelength exposure has been reported to yield substantial biological results. The authors continue to include oxidative stress and altered gene expression, skin effects, and systemic effects, such as immune function.

The teams make several recommendations, including more thorough monitoring and data collection to determine connections between exposure to RF-EMF and health effects, sharing knowledge on health risk with consumers, and restricting exposure in children under 16. In their list, the last point states the following.

The bottom line

Certainly, there is evidence that RF-EMF exposure is related to a minor rise in the risk of developing certain cancers and other adverse health effects.

But the jury is still out on how serious a threat RF-EMFs in general — and 5G bandwidths in particular — pose to our health.

To reduce our exposure to RF-EMFs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggest cutting down how much time we spend on our cell phones, as well as using speaker mode or a hands-free kit to create more distance between our devices and our heads.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend limiting the time that kids and teenagers spend on mobile devices.

The electromagnetic spectrum is broken up into two categories: ionizing and non-ionizing. The high-frequency millimetre wavelengths that are expected to be used for some 5G deployments are in the non-ionizing category.

18 easy Christmas recipes that basically anyone can make

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About My Health Record?

My Health Record is a national interactive health record system. It helps you to share your health records with physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers if you want to.

What is My Health Record?

My Health Record is a secure online summary of your health information. You can control what goes into it and who is allowed to access it. You can choose to share your health information with your doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Every Australian now has a My Health Record, unless they have chosen not to have one.

Benefits of having a My Health Record

Access

The documents found in My Health Record are given by default to medical practitioners for general access. This means that any provider involved will see this information. You are still able to adjust the access controls. If you have an internet connexion, you can access your health records.

Safety

In a medical emergency, healthcare providers can easily offer the best quality treatment by accessing your health records. Healthcare services will provide you with better guidance and treatment on allergies, unpleasant reactions and medical conditions. You will have emergency access to your record when you have created an access code for your My Health Record and there is a significant threat to your life, health or safety.

Convenience

If you are in My Health Record, your health history, including medication, symptoms and test results, would not necessarily need to be reminded of any detail you need to send to different healthcare providers. You might want to offer that information. However, it is not mandatory to discuss it with your doctor in order to receive an update of your health history and/or prescription than the details available in your My Health Record. The same goes for the wellbeing of your children with immunisations and medical testing in My Health Record if you want it.

Security

You can control who sees what information. There are strict regulations about who can see or use your My Health Record. This protects your health information from misuse or loss.

What is included in your My Health Record?

Your My Health Record can include:

  • a record written by your doctor
  • details of medicines prescribed for you
  • specialist and referral documents
  • details of allergies and adverse reactions
  • an immunisations history
  • diagnostic imaging reports (like ultrasound or x-ray results)
  • pathology reports (like blood tests)
  • hospital discharge information
  • your Medicare claims history
  • your indigenous, veteran and Australian defence force status
  • your decision about organ donation
  • your wishes about your healthcare if you become too unwell to communicate (sometimes called a ‘living will’ or ‘advanced care planning’ documents)
  • contact numbers and emergency contact details
  • other personal health notes – you or a nominated representative can enter notes to keep track of your own health, like a health diary. Healthcare providers can’t see these notes.

Your My Health Record doesn’t replace any of your existing health records. Your doctors will still keep their own notes.

Documents and records saved in My health record can be hidden or concealed. Once hidden, information, even during an emergency, is not available to anyone.

The Child Development section of your child’s My Health Record is similar to the paper-based Baby Book. It has information about early health, growth and development, such as:

  • personal measurements
  • an immunisations and health checks history
  • questionnaires about growth and development
  • parental observations
  • information for parents
  • health check questionnaires (for NSW and Tasmania)
  • emergency contact information

How to register for My Health Record

Every eligible Australian has a My Health Record, unless they have chosen not to have one.

If you are new to Australia, a My Health Record will be created for you when you register for Medicare. You can indicate on the Medicare enrolment form if you do not want one.

You can register for a My Health Record before then in several ways:

  • online via the My Health Record website — you will need to create a MyGov account or log in to your existing account to register for My Health Record
  • by phone, by calling 1800 723 471 and choosing option 1
  • by completing a registration application form, available from a Medicare service centre or from the My Health Record website and posting it to GPO Box 9942 in your capital city
  • by asking your healthcare provider to help you

If you are registering a child, you must have parental responsibility for them and the child must be listed on your Medicare card. If this is not the case, you will need to apply in writing.

You can register a child who is not on your Medicare card:

  • in person at a Medicare service centre
  • when completing the Newborn Child Claim form — provided to all new parents
  • by asking your healthcare provider to help you

How can I view and manage My Health Record?

You can access your My Health Record with an internet browser and your myGov username and password. These are created when you register for myGov online. If you don’t have a myGov account, you will need to create one to see and use your My Health Record online.

More information and help

You can get more information:

Benefits of Private Health Insurance

Public or private? The question of whether to take out a health insurance policy or rely on the public system is not always an easy one to answer.

Private vs public health insurance

Private health benefits cover policyholders for certain hospital costs and for any medical expenses that are not covered by Medicare, even when the patient is treated personally.

Depending on the situation, there are some medical expenses – including a visit to the GP or an X-ray to treat a condition in a hospital – that could be covered by Medicare via the public health system. However, some treatment expenses are still not covered at all by Medicare. This ensures that if you don’t have private health insurance certain services may be left with a big bill.

In general, private health insurance is split into two primary areas: medical cover and general care coverage (extras). Ambulance protection may also be available as a third form of private health insurance depending on what state or jurisdiction you live in.

If you’re comparing health insurance policies, the table below displays a snapshot of a hospital and extras policies currently available on Canstar’s database for a single female.

What does  mean

CompanyStar RatingExcess per admissionHospital Cover TierHospital Cover Tier

classic silver plus & black 50 saver$750SILVER   1300861418
Get quote
on ahm Health Insurance’s website
Standard Hospital (Bronze Plus) & Basic Extras (BSE)$750BRONZE More details
Lite Hospital $750 Excess – Bronze Plus & Budget Extras 60$750BRONZE More details
Lite Hospital $750 Excess – Bronze Plus & Top Extras 60$750BRONZE More details
Mid Hospital $750 Excess – Silver Plus & Top Extras 60$750SILVER More details
Use Canstar’s health insurance comparison selector to view a wide range of policies.
View all Canstar rated Health Insurance products

Potential advantages of private health insurance

  1. Shorter Time to wait
    Private Health Insurance will benefit from a shorter time of waiting to obtain care. This is especially helpful for optional surgery, often requiring lengthy waiting periods.

2. Private hospital rooms

Another potential benefit of private health insurance is the option of being treated in a private room. In a public hospital, you are often placed in a room with four to six other people with various conditions. Private health members are typically able to request a private room

3. Claim money back on non-Medicare health services

Many people sign up for private health insurance to receive a rebate on health services that are not covered by Medicare. For example, extras cover often covers you for services such as dental, optical, chiropractic and physiotherapy. Without private health insurance, getting a filling or buying new glasses may be quite expensive.

4. Dental covered by private health insurance

As mentioned above, it is usually not Medicare that goes to the dentist. Even the most common procedures are usually not provided such as tooth checks or clean and measure.

5. Select your doctor or surgeon

Many private health insurance plans allow members to choose their favourite doctor or surgeon. Your doctor will be at the facility during your treatment in a public hospital.

Potential drawbacks of private health insurance

About half of Australians are covered by private health insurance. In May of 2020, 43.8% of the public have coverage in hospitals and 53.2,% of the population have extra cover. According to the private health insurance figures of APRA for May 2020. This means that many individuals conclude that their benefits actually do not outweigh the drawbacks of private health insurance. Indeed, APRA cautioned that only a few insurers will stand before 2022.

Here are some of the reasons why people might decide not to take out private health insurance.

1. The cost

Private health insurance can be expensive – depending on their policy, an individual, couple or family could pay thousands of dollars in premiums each year, with costs typically increasing annually.

2. Complex products

For some, the huge variety of products on offer and the range of policy inclusions and exclusions can be overwhelming and challenging to understand. Health insurance reforms introduced in 2019 are aiming to simplify the products on offer.

3. Excluded treatments

Depending on the procedure, you will also not be protected if you actually seek care in the hospital. Not every treatment or procedure can be protected by such a robust policy.

4. Out of pocket costs

Only part of the costs of care or operation shall be included under a private insurance policy. You could end up paying a considerable amount, for example as excess, but less than you could pay if you were not insured.

What is Health Insurance? How does it work?

Private Health insurance is a form of insurance cover which usually costs the insured for medical, surgical, pharmaceutical and sometimes dental costs.

This website aims to answer your questions about private health insurance by explaining how it works, and who and what is covered. You can also compare policies from different Health insurers to help you choose a policy that is right for you.

Private health insurance is ‘group listed’ in Australia. That ensures that all customers are allowed to purchase the same product at the same price (except for Lifetime Health Cover and Age-based Discounts),and the right to renew their policy is guaranteed. A health insurance provider can’t refuse to cover or sell any plans that you choose to purchase.

Some of the things to consider when looking into private health insurance include:

  • What is covered? In Australia, the public health system, Medicare, covers most Australian residents for health care. However, Medicare does not cover everything and you can choose to take out private health insurance to give yourself a wider range of health care options and more comprehensive cover.
  • How does it work? There are two types of health insurance: hospital and general treatment (ancillary or extras) cover. You can buy policies for these types of cover separately or most insurers offer combined policies. There will be limitations on what and when you can claim with any policy you buy.
  • What government incentives and surcharges affect my insurance? The Private Health Insurance Rebate, the Lifetime Health Cover rules, and Age-based discount affect how much you pay for private health insurance. The Medicare Levy Surcharge affects people earning above a certain threshold who don’t hold private hospital cover. 
  • Overseas visitors & students If you are in Australia on a temporary visa, you should consider taking out some form of visitor’s health cover for the duration of your stay. On some visas, you may be required to take out a form of visitor’s health insurance.